Developers and testers have been clamoring for Microsoft to provide a way to run Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0 and 7.0 side-by-side on the same machine. On November 30, Microsoft released a solution for doing so.
Microsoft has decided to deliver a Virtual PC virtual-machine image containing a pre-activated Windows XP SP2, IE6 and the IE7 Readiness Toolkit.
The image is time bombed and will no longer function after April 1, 2007. the IE team noted on its blog this week. However, "We hope to continue to provide these images in the future as a service to web developers," the team added.
Developers worried about running afoul of Microsoft's licensing police had complained that Microsoft was forcing them to buy an additional Windows license in order to run IE 6 and IE 7 simultaneously using Virtual PC.
With the newly created side-by-side solution, "the VPC image runs in a virtual machine that offers all of the functionality of a full IE6 installation without giving it any access to its host machine’s hard drive, registry, etc.," the IE team said. "You can make as many modifications as you want to the virtual machine without affecting your host installation at all."
And the team's not stopping there. "While we’ve released a VPC image today with Windows XP SP2, we’re also investigating creating other VPC images, for example IE5, IE5.5, IE6 and IE6 SP1, as well as versions of IE on different language operating systems," according to Pete LePage, the IE product manager who blogged about the new solution.
One caveat: Virtual PC 2004 doesn't work on Windows Vista, but the new side-by-side image does work with Virtual PC 2007, which is currently in beta.